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Running Fast This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     Fasting without food or drink (including water) from two hours before sunrise until sunset during the long days of October is difficult; however it is even more difficult when, in addition, I need to run five miles a day and perform well in school. As part of being a Muslim, I am required to fast for 30 days during the Islamic month of Ramadan. However, as a varsity cross-country runner, I also need to practice during this month. So I was presented with the decision either to run cross-country or to fast for

Ramadan.

As I contemplated the effects of each, I had an epiphany - I could both fast and run. Ramadan landed on a critical time in my cross-country season: the month before the state meet. That meant I would not just be required to fast and practice, I would need to fast and practice hard in order to get in shape for the sectional meet so that we could make it to state. I was the number four varsity runner, so my team depended on me.

During the weeks leading up to Ramadan, I tried to pack on as many calories as I could, so I would have some fat stored to provide me with the energy required to run hard at practices. I knew that fasting, running, and studying for school would be difficult; however my only option was to succeed. I decided that I wouldn’t look at these commitments as setbacks, but instead as challenges that would make me stronger.

I prepared myself for the month of Ramadan, so when the first day came, instead of focusing on not eating or drinking, I focused on my ancillary objectives - running and school. Two hours before sunrise, I woke and ate a large, high-calorie breakfast and drank almost two liters of water to use for the rest of the day. I ran at practice that day, albeit in a semi-dehydrated state. When I finished I felt like I had accomplished something. Immediately after sunset, I ate and drank as much as I could, which wasn’t much because my stomach had shrunk during the day in reaction to the lack of food. I had to force myself to eat again later in the evening to compensate for fasting. I felt exhausted again that night when I went to sleep, but because I felt so satisfied, I decided to continue fasting and running for the rest of the month. Although some days were more difficult than others, I kept a positive mindset and followed my plan.

I managed to maintain solid grades in school and still ran well at meets. Although we didn’t make it to state, we placed third at sectionals. And I fulfilled my commitment to my team and to my religion.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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This article has 5 comments. Post your own!

nerdyfishThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Apr. 5, 2013 at 6:52 am:
I love your article about running and fasting. It is well written and inspirational. When I have to fast I will remember your story in my mind. I also believe that you are brave to mention you are a muslim. I hate how people are so racist, anti-semetic, and cruel. I also hate how they teach Jews and Muslims to hate eachother instead of living together in harmony. Thank you for sharing your post with me and other dedicated writers  
 
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BethaniThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Mar. 23, 2010 at 11:38 pm:
once a month as a mormon i fast two meals and we donate the money to the community to help those who have needs that aren't being taken care of. it's our way of giving back to others and showing god that we love him. we are taught that by fasting we are learning to control our bodies. im glad there are others out there who are commited to their religion. i respect all religions.
 
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fallible but fasidous said...
Sept. 19, 2008 at 12:13 pm:
i must admit that i really appreciate your ambition, determination as well as the commitment you feel for your religion...
That is actually one of the points i admire Muslims for... the commitment they feel for their religion and their determination...
but i also have a question for you...
what does it mean to fast for you...is it mere commitment? do you do it because you have the duty to do it or any particular reason like for example because you have the need to fast.
Y... (more »)
 
Fayrouz This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Nov. 25, 2009 at 11:51 pm :
Muslims fast for many reasons. We believe that by fasting for a whole month, we change ourselves. Fasting isn't just from food or water...but from bad behaviors as well. While fasting, you shouldn't hurt anyone, swear, no sex for adults, and try to be calm the entire day. When you don't eat, it takes your mind off food and other "luxuries" of life and makes you focus...you're not hungry though because you eat before sunrise. Also, it helps you know what the poor f... (more »)
 
Zavery_ replied...
Jun. 19, 2011 at 6:07 pm :
Couldn't have said it better.   =)
 
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